Chapter 5 : Running
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I have now been engaged to Cyrus Campbell for one week and today we are eloping to Romania.
Yes, you heard correctly. I, Molly Weasley, am eloping with an ex-rock star. This is, without a doubt, the craziest thing I have ever done in my life. And yet I still feel like it’s the right decision. I guess I’ve really changed since I first met Campbell.
It’s not that I’ve suddenly become a rebel or anything like that – quite the opposite. I am absolutely terrified of everything that I’m doing right now, which is not a very nice feeling. I’m risking losing everything that I have by doing this; I just think that what I’m going to gain will be greater than anything I lose.
Wow, I’m turning into such a sap. Even Campbell would laugh if he could hear what I was thinking – and please let’s not even start on what my family would say. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
We’re travelling the muggle way for the first half of our journey. Campbell wasn’t keen on the idea at first, especially when he found out that we would have to travel in a boat to France, but I managed to convince him that it could be fun. Besides, he’s always the one telling me to take risks, so now it’s his turn (I might have slipped the word coward casually into the conversation – as another former Gryffindor, he didn’t take kindly to it). I don’t particularly like muggle travel – it’s ridiculously slow and boring – but it helps us to get out of the country without needing permission or help from the Ministry. Since quite a few of my family members, including my Dad, who don’t even know I have a boyfriend (fiancé), work for the Ministry, asking them to set up a portkey for us isn’t exactly an option. Then of course there’s the minor detail that I haven’t told anyone I’m getting married (can you imagine that conversation? It would involve a lot of screaming and probably a few hexes when some of the women like Mona and Cynthia found out) and I’ve not taken any time off to go to Romania. If you’re going to elope, why not do it properly, right?
I’m so ridiculously nervous right now. Campbell is coming to the flat to pick me up in half an hour, but of course I’m already ready – old ways die hard. My bags have been packed since last night and I’ve been through my bedroom seventeen times to check I have everything I need. I even packed the muggle way so that it took more time. Unfortunately it didn’t occupy my thoughts very much, so I still can’t escape the worries that keep nagging at the back of my mind. I know some of the things are probably ridiculous, but it doesn’t stop me worrying about them.
Leaving Britain. Going to Romania. Losing my job. Getting married.
Fifteen minutes until Campbell arrives and my palms are sticky. I’m worried I’m going to break into a sweat before long. Why is everything about this so scary?
Oh right. Because it’s not at all like me. That explains things.
Ten minutes and I’ve started pacing around the room like a madwoman. If the people living downstairs are in they’ll probably think I’m training for a marathon or something.
Eight minutes left and there’s a knock at the door. I rush to it and practically pull the door off its hinges in my eagerness to open it. When I do, I see Campbell stood there, smiling happily. Suddenly my heart starts racing, but in a much more pleasant way than before. I’m still nervous, of course, and I wipe my hands on my jeans as he walks in the door.
“I didn’t think you’d mind me being early,” he says. “I know you, and you’ve probably been ready for ages, am I right?”
I nod sheepishly as he looks at the cases I have stacked neatly in the corner of the living room.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asks abruptly, and I’m so surprised by the question that I don’t answer for a moment.
He’s giving me a choice. If I want to change my mind, now is the time to do it. But as I look into his eyes, I realise that I don’t want to change my mind. I want to run away and get married to him. Even if it is in Romania, where there are lots of dragons and all sorts of weird wizards.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I say. I feel a little less nervous, but not enough for the sick feeling in my stomach to disappear.
“You look beautiful today, Molly.” I look at him in surprise again. Campbell can be romantic if he wants to, but he’s not normally very complimentary. Neither am I – it’s just the way we are.
Which is why I respond the way I do. “You don’t look too bad, either. For a dragon handler.”
Campbell laughs and pulls me closer to him. “You’re daft, Molly. But that’s why I love you.”
And even though I hate all the clichés I read in books and used to hear girls gushing over in the dormitories at Hogwarts, the moment his lips touch mine I know that everything is going to be just fine.
We arrived in Romania an hour ago. The muggle travel wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, although the boat (they called it a ferry) that we took to get to France was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. The English Channel is also a lot rougher than the lake at Hogwarts (the only other time either Campbell or I has been in a boat before), which led to the unfortunate discovery that Campbell gets seasick. What made it worse was that I couldn’t use magic to help him feel better, because of all the muggles around.
I know I probably shouldn’t think this, but it’s quite nice to know that Campbell isn’t extremely attractive no matter what he’s doing.
Bad Molly. Not what you should be thinking on your wedding day!
Once we’d taken the ferry to France, we went to their Ministry and they set up a portkey for us to Romania. It was the longest journey I’ve ever made using a portkey and it definitely wasn’t the pleasantest sensation. I don’t think that I’ll be in a hurry to repeat it any time soon.
When we got to the Romanian Ministry, we had to go through several security checks to prove that we weren’t trying to smuggle anything into the country (I don’t know what people would try and smuggle into Romania from England – British tea leaves, perhaps?) and that we were actually who we said we were. I thought that once the interrogation was over it would be a simple trip to the handling colony where Campbell has worked before and where we’re going to stay while we’re here, but things turned out slightly differently. Apparently, The Unspeakables were quite famous in Romania too, and after the Ministry officials had ordered us a car to take us to the colony (something about being inconspicuous, plus our apparition licences aren’t valid under Romanian law), two witches accosted us and spent twenty minutes (the car arrived after two) trying to flirt with Campbell and asking him questions in giggly voices. It’s a pity that they don’t know why I’m actually here with him, because that might have put a stop to their pathetic attempts at seduction. In fact, I very nearly told them that we had run away together to get married here, but I thought that it didn’t exactly fit in with the whole secrecy thing. More’s the pity.
We did finally make it into the car, though, not without me receiving evils from the two witches, and Campbell apologising profusely for it. I told him not to worry about it. I’m going to have to get used to it, since I’m getting married to him. The car journey didn’t take long and now we’re walking to the colony from the muggle car park outside.
The dragon sanctuary is in the centre of the forest. It seems absurd that someone thought it was a good idea to place a lot of fire-breathing creatures in the middle of wooden trees, but apparently it was the only place big enough that they could also hide completely from muggles. Nonetheless, I would imagine that they have several fires here each day. As if on cue, I see dark smoke rising into the sky from deep in the forest.
It’s warm as we walk through the trees. A surprising amount of sunlight is streaming through to ground level and every so often there’s a gentle breeze. The weather is absolutely perfect for a Romanian summer day. I’m still nervous, but it’s nowhere near as bad as earlier, before Campbell arrived to collect me. I actually managed to take in some of the scenery flashing past the window on our way here.
Campbell is walking with his arm around my shoulder. Normally I would tell him to remove it (PDA) but it’s quite reassuring. The trees are thinning and I can hear lots of loud noises and shouting, and now I’m worried about what the other handlers are going to think of me turning up to marry him.
Merlin that’s a dragon!
Suddenly, a jet of flame shoots across our path and I can’t help squeaking in fright. I’m sure I would have jumped backwards as well if Campbell’s arm hadn’t been around me. I’m also sure that Campbell knows this, because as I’m staring up at a terrifying Norwegian Ridgeback, Campbell is doubled over in laughter at my reaction.
It’s nice to know I’m marrying someone with such sympathy for my suffering.
Eventually he regains his composure and, only chuckling slightly, shakes his head at me. “Yes, it’s a dragon, Molly. What did you expect? A pygmy puff?”
“Very funny, Campbell,” I say, trying to scowl, but I can’t keep a straight face and before long I’ve joined in his laughter.
When we both manage to stop, we realise we only have a few hours before we’re due to get married, and so he leads me around the wide opening where the dragons are kept along another path through the trees, until we reach a collection of houses that is obviously the home of the dragon handlers and their families. On the way we meet several people, who greet Campbell and look at me curiously, but then Campbell let’s us into his house (yes, he has a house here as well. Talk about rich!) and shows me to the spare bedroom.
“I thought you could get ready in here,” he tells me. “I sent your bags on, so you should have everything you need.”
“Okay,” I say. I feel nervous at the thought of him leaving me, even if it is only for a few hours. But then he smiles and kisses me, as if he knows exactly what I’m thinking and feeling.
“I’ll see you soon, Molly. I love you. And I can’t wait for you to be my wife.”
With that, he walks back down the stairs to another room, where he is presumably getting ready for our wedding. I can’t wait for him to be my husband, either, so I shut the door behind me and start getting ready too.
Despite my obsession with romance novels (a result of being the only spinster in my friendship group), I’ve never really wanted a traditional wedding – well, except for the fact that I wanted a handsome man to come and sweep me off my feet (enter: Campbell). But apart from that, I’ve never been one of those girls who dreamed of having a beautiful white dress, or walking down the aisle on my father’s arm. I suppose it’s a good job, really. Because there’s nothing about this wedding which could be described as traditional. I think crazy might be a better adjective for it.
So, due to my lack of desire for a traditional wedding, I am currently standing in front of a full length mirror in the spare bedroom of Campbell’s house in Romania. We couldn’t avoid meeting some of the other handlers (though thankfully, there’s been no sign of Uncle Charlie yet – he’s probably snoring somewhere) and some of their wives offered to help me get ready. I declined (trying to be polite, though I’m so nervous that I’m not sure that’s how it came out) and said that I would be fine. Right now, I’m regretting that decision. How on earth are you meant to get ready for your wedding day? I’m starting to wish that I’d paid more attention to Nana Weasley’s lessons when I was younger. I’m sure that she would have had some useful advice for me now – after all, she had some for almost every other occasion.
I’ve done my best to get ready. I have to admit that I do look better than normal. I’m even voluntarily wearing a dress. And yes, it’s a blue summer dress (the colours I can wear are unfortunately greatly limited by the famous Weasley hair that I inherited) rather than a white wedding dress (Mum would be appalled – it doesn’t even have any frills) but it’s still a dress. It shows off my legs, which Felicity always tells me I should show off more often, and I actually look quite pretty. And admittedly, I told Campbell not to wear a suit (though I’m sure he would look even more gorgeous than usual in one) so he’s probably in his usual jeans, and maybe a shirt – but what if I walk out there and he changes his mind? What if he decides that he doesn’t want to marry me anymore?
Merlin, it’s time! How has this happened so quickly? Six weeks ago, I turned down Campbell’s dragon training centre application and his offer of dinner, all in one day. Today I’m getting married to him in a dragon handling colony in Romania. Needless to say, this is not exactly what I expected when I went to work that day to interview him.
There’s a knock at the door. I don’t know who it is; because I heard Campbell go out five minutes ago (I told him that we couldn’t see each other before the ceremony. I’m not normally superstitious, and I think divination is a pile of hippogriff dung, but I figured that it’s not worth taking risks today). I hear another knock and I stumble to the door in my heels, opening it tentatively.
“Uncle Charlie?” I gasp. I can’t believe it at first, but it’s definitely him, looking even more sunburnt and weathered than when I saw him last Christmas.
“Hi, Molly. Can I come in?” Without waiting for an answer, he pushes the door open and steps inside.
“What are you doing here?” I ask him. I knew there was a risk of seeing him when we came to Romania, but I had hoped that I’d be married before that happened. Looks like I can’t get through this without my family knowing about it. Damn.
“I’m here to see you,” he replies. “I know you’re getting married to Campbell. I was going to offer to give you away, if you’d like me to.”
My eyes are as round as saucers. I wasn’t expecting him to say that. Now I look at him, though, I can see he’s made an effort with his appearance. His hair has been combed and his jeans don’t even have any holes in them. Wow.
“You’re not going to tell me I shouldn’t do it? You’re not going to tell Dad?” I demand.
Uncle Charlie snorts. I wonder if that’s a family trait. Fantastic.
“Of course not, Molly. I’m not a snitch. You’re 26 and you’re old enough to make your own decisions in life. If Percy has a problem with that then he’s going to have to deal with it. Besides, Campbell’s a good guy. I trained him myself. He’s one of the best handlers around.”
I open and close my mouth several times without saying anything. Who knew that Uncle Charlie was so cool?
“Thanks,” I respond eventually. “That would be lovely.”
“Come on then, Molly,” he beams, offering his arm to me. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
The sun is setting but it’s still warm in the forest glade we’re stood in for the wedding ceremony. My wedding ceremony. There are more people than I expected watching us. Uncle Charlie has a seat in the front row, and he keeps winking and grinning at me every time I catch his eye. I swear that once I caught him pulling a funny face to try and make me laugh. Trust a Weasley to lower the tone.
My hands are in Campbell’s. He looks fantastic, even though he isn’t in the traditional wedding suit. I find it hard to tear my eyes away from his, even when I’m saying the wedding vows that I’m trying to repeat after the short wizard performing the ceremony. Campbell just looks so happy, and I know that my expression is mirroring his. He’s looking at me with so much love in his eyes that I don’t know what I was ever worried about. Of course I want to marry him. I know, as we exchange rings, that it’s exactly the right thing to do.
Then the short wizard says, in heavily accented English, the words I’ve been waiting for: “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
I’m beaming from ear to ear. I’m married to Cyrus Campbell. The short wizard gives us permission to kiss but Campbell has already leaned in and pressed his lips to mine. In the background I hear applause and even a wolf-whistle (probably courtesy of Uncle Charlie). But none of it matters enough for me to concentrate on anyone but Campbell. My husband. And I never want this perfect moment to end.
It’s a few hours since the end of the ceremony and Campbell and I have crept away from the makeshift dance floor for some time alone. Everyone was lovely, even though they didn’t know me before today, and Uncle Charlie was surprisingly well behaved. Still, it’s nice to have some peace and quiet. I’m still not used to being the centre of attention, and though Campbell is, he seemed as ready as me to take a break from the party.
We’re currently sat on a bench in the woods (away from the dragons – I’m not ready to be too close to them again yet). Campbell has his arm around me and we keep kissing at rather frequent intervals. In spite of my strong objections to PDA, I find that I don’t care at all. It is my wedding day, after all. I’m allowed to kiss my husband!
“I love you,” Campbell whispers, stroking my hair.
“I love you, too,” I reply softly. “Thank you for today. It’s been perfect.”
Campbell smiles wider (neither of us has stopped smiling since the actual wedding) and nods. “It has been perfect, hasn’t it?” he agrees. “And you know what? It’s still going to be perfect tomorrow, and the day after that. Because you’re my wife, Molly Campbell.”
I feel my breath catch in my throat as he says my new name. I don’t have words to explain how it makes me feel, so I kiss him instead. It’s strange that I’m no longer a Weasley. I’ve tried to be independent from my family for so long and now I finally have a different name – one that I couldn’t be happier with.
“It was nice of Uncle Charlie to give me away,” I comment, after a few minutes’ silence. “I was so determined that I didn’t want any of my family involved, but I’m really glad he was here today.”
“I thought so, that’s why I wrote to him,” Campbell replies. When I sit bolt upright, he realises that he’s said more than he meant to.
“You told him?” I exclaim.
Campbell looks embarrassed. “Yeah. I kind of had to. We needed permission to get married here and Charlie’s in charge. But I thought that it would be nice for you to have someone in your family here as well.”
I don’t say anything for a minute or two, thinking about what he’s said.
“Are you mad?” Campbell asks me eventually, looking apprehensive.
“No,” I tell him honestly. I know that I probably should be angry, but I’m actually really glad that he did it. It’s quite scary how well he knows me – though he is my husband now, so I suppose it’s only to be expected.
“Good,” he replies, sounding relieved. That’s understandable. It wouldn’t bode well for the rest of our married life if we argued on our wedding day.
Instead, Campbell pulls me back into his arms and kisses me again. And it’s then that I realise something. All of this time I’ve thought that I was running away from everything in my life at home in England. But I was wrong. Yes, I have been running. But I’ve been running to something. Running to Campbell, running to our future together.
And now that we’re finally married, it’s time for me to stop running and start living.
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